Contraband Hospital Waste Returns To The US

Photo: Eric Molina for Environmental Leader

Customs Agents recently intercepted a ship with 15 containers of US Hospital waste at a port in northern Brazil as reported by Fox News.  Apparently the 46.6 Ton load of used syringes, bedding and other hospital waste were shipped through a South Carolina exporter and all cargo bore logos of US hospitals, labeled as defective cotton fabric.  The containers were headed for a Brazilian textile company under investigation.  Needless to say the waste is being returned to the US.

It seems as though disposing of hazardous waste has become quite a lucrative business with fines from the EPA only adding a minuscule expense to the cost of running a very profitable business.  According to Fox News last February another  ship was intercepted from the Port of Seattle with a load of computer monitors and other e-waste coming from an exporter in Minnesota.  The EPA ordered the two companies to dispose of the e-waste properly and fined them $31,600!  Can you imagine what those  companies have made over the years only offset by a mere $15,800 fine?

As consumers discard their cell-phones, computer gadgets and computers every couple years  it’s not hard to visualize the “snowball” effect that will bury us in e-waste.  And that’s only one waste arena – there’s the hospital waste, the plastic waste, industrial waste and so on.

I think it’s all about education and helping folks learn the proper way of disposing or better yet, repurposing those items that will eventually suffocate us.  I know everyone has their own opinion and I would love to hear some of your thoughts about this growing problem so add your comments in the section below.